Remove FATE Ransomware Virus (DECRYPT .fate FILES)

FATE ransomware is a menace to files stored on your computer

FATE ransomware is a virus that encrypts files on compromised Windows OS-running computers. Mostly distributed in disguise of cracked software versions, it seeks to encrypt every file on the computer, append .fate extension to the original filename, and drop _readme.txt ransom note in the containing folder. For example, files originally named 1.jpg, 2.txt and 3.docx will appear as 1.jpg.fate, 2.txt.fate, 3.docx.fate after being encrypted, plus, there will be no way for the user to open them.

Once encrypted, files become unusable since the victim cannot open them, no matter what program is used. That is the whole point of the ransomware attack – to prevent the user from accessing personal files, cause frustration and then demand a ransom payment for FATE file decryption tools. However, another danger posed by this ransomware is that it often arrives together with information stealers, namely VIDAR, Azorult or RedLine.

Below, you can see how encrypted files look like as well as the ransom note contents.

Ransom note contents explained

FATE ransomware drops a copy of _readme.txt ransom note in every folder it visits during the system attack, so that the victim could notice the file easily. The note states that encrypted data can still be restored, but only if the victim pays a ransom. The note specifies that the decryption tool may cost $490 or $980. The way this works is if the victim reaches out to the attackers within 3 days, they will be willing to settle for the lower price point, however, if delayed any longer, the price will be $980.

The note also states that the user of the compromised computer can test the decryption service before paying the ransom. In order to do that, the victim should send one encrypted file as an attachment to an email to the attackers. The ransom note includes two email addresses that belong to the criminals: support@fishmail.top and datarestorehelp@airmail.cc.

People who contact the criminals usually receive instructions on how to make the ransom payment. The criminals usually ask the victim to purchase a specific cryptocurrency worth the amount in dollars, and then transfer the sum to their virtual wallet address. The reason behind this is that these payment are nearly untraceable, so the law enforcement agencies like FBI cannot reveal the attackers’ identities by tracing the transaction.

It should also be noted that paying a ransom is not a recommended action – it never guarantees data recovery and motivates the attackers to keep doing what they do.

Additional information stealers dropped: what to do now

Data encryption isn’t the sole damage done by the malware that has infected your computer. Unfortunately, research shows that the majority of STOP/DJVU ransomware variants, including FATE virus, arrive in tandem with information-stealing Trojans, such as VIDAR, AZORULT, or RedLine.

These threats are known for their extensive functionalities to steal sensitive information, including saved passwords, browsing history, cookies, and even offline cryptocurrency wallet contents. The stolen data then gets transferred to cybercriminals’ Command&Control server.

To prevent further damage and secure your computer, it is vital to remove FATE ransomware virus and any additional threats that may have landed alongside the main threat. To do this, we strongly recommend using trustworthy antivirus, such as INTEGO Antivirus. What also helps is downloading RESTORO (secure download link), a tool that is exceptional when it comes to repairing Windows OS files damaged by various malware.

Ransomware Summary

NameFATE Ransomware Virus
TypeRansomware; Crypto-malware; Virtual Extortion Virus
Encryption typeRSA 2048 + Salsa20
Previous versionsPOWD, BOWD, BOZQ, POZQ, ZATP, ZATE (find full list here)
Cybercriminal emailssupport@fishmail.top and datarestorehelp@airmail.cc
Additional malware droppedAzorult or Vidar Trojan
DamageThe ransomware uses encryption to maliciously modify all files on the PC and marks their original names with .fate extension. Ransom notes called as _readme.txt will be dropped in every computer folder. This piece of malware usually drags VIDAR Stealer alongside it and also eliminates VSS from the system. On top of that, it tends to modify Windows HOSTS file to restrict computer user’s access to cybersecurity-related websites online.
Ransom note_readme.txt
Ransom demand$490-$980 in Bitcoin
DistributionVictims often download this ransomware along illegal torrent downloads, cracked software, activators, key generators or tools like KMSPico.
Known software cracks to contain this malwareCorel Draw, Tenorshare 4ukey, Adobe Photoshop, Cubase, Adobe Illustrator, Internet Download Manager, Tally, League of Legends.
Detection namesTrojan:Win32/Azorult.FW!MTB (Microsoft), Gen:Heur.Mint.Zard.52 (B) (Emsisoft), HEUR:Trojan.Win32.Scarsi.gen (Kaspersky), Gen:Heur.Mint.Zard.52 (BitDefender), Trojan.MalPack.GS (Malwarebytes), ML.Attribute.HighConfidence (Symantec) see all detection name variations on VirusTotal
RemovalRemove ransomware and related malware from your PC using trustworthy software like INTEGO Antivirus. To repair virus damage on Windows OS files, download and try RESTORO (secure download link).

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The screenshot below shows how encrypted files look like.

How to avoid ransomware attacks

In order to avoid ransomware attacks, you should always keep an up-to-date antivirus on your computer. Furthermore, you should stay away from deceptive sites online, especially those promoting software cracks, keygens and pirated versions of copyright-protected content. Fake software cracks are the primary tool used by STOP/DJVU ransomware operators in order to push versions like FATE file extension virus.

Instead of searching for ways to access premium software without paying, we recommend supporting legitimate software developers. Otherwise, you may put your computer at risk, because looking for software versions via torrent listings or direct download websites is the easiest way to fill your computer with a wide set of malware.

Aside from malicious downloads, computer users should stay vigilant when checking their email – the perpetrators often pretend to be someone they’re not and send convincing emails to thousands of potential targets. Such deceptive emails typically contain several attachments, mostly documents in DOCX, PDF or XLS formats. Once launched, the malicious script embedded in them downloads and runs ransomware from an external resource.

Finally, we recommend computer users to be cautious when visiting various gaming, streaming, or video download sites, as these can be packed with ads from not-so-reputable ad networks. The general rule is, if you notice that a site redirects you to suspicious pages asking you to allow push-notifications or asking you to install some magic software to fix all your computer problems, you should close the said page immediately. To be specific, you should be very careful around deceptive ads that suggest installing updates for your outdated software – such installers can be packed with malware.

Remove FATE ransomware virus and restore your files

If, unfortunately, the described malware has invaded your computer, you should remove FATE ransomware components and related threats – the sooner, the better. If you’re unsure how to do it without the help of a computer technician, we recommend following the free guide prepared by our team.

Our team strongly recommends INTEGO Antivirus for FATE ransomware removal. Finish the procedure by downloading RESTORO and scanning the system with it to identify Windows OS files that can be repaired.


Our team recommends a two-step rescue plan to remove ransomware and other remaining malware from your computer, plus repair caused virus damage to the system:


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FATE Ransomware Virus Removal Guidelines

Method 1. Enter Safe Mode with Networking

Step 1. Start Windows in Safe Mode with Networking

Before you try to remove FATE Ransomware Virus virus, you must start your computer in Safe Mode with Networking. Below, we provide the easiest ways to boot PC in the said mode, but you can find additional ones in this in-depth tutorial on our website – How to Start Windows in Safe Mode. Also, if you prefer a video version of the tutorial, check our guide How to Start Windows in Safe Mode on Youtube.

Instructions for Windows XP/Vista/7 users

  1. First of all, turn off your PC. Then press the Power button to start it again and instantly start pressing F8 button on your keyboard repeatedly in 1-second intervals. This launches the Advanced Boot Options menu.
  2. Use arrow keys on the keyboard to navigate down to Safe Mode with Networking option and press Enter.

Instructions for Windows 8/8.1/10/11 users

  1. Open Windows Start menu, then press down the Power button. On your keyboard, press down and hold the Shift key, and then select Restart option.
  2. This will take you to Windows Troubleshoot screen. Choose Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart. Tip: If you can't find Startup Settings, click See more recovery options.
  3. In Startup Settings, press the right key between F1-F9 to enter Safe Mode with Networking. In this case, it is the F5 key.
Step 2. Remove files associated with the virus

Now, you can search for and remove FATE Ransomware Virus files. It is very hard to identify files and registry keys that belong to the ransomware virus, Besides, malware creators tend to rename and change them repeatedly. Therefore, the easiest way to uninstall such type of a computer virus is to use a reliable security program such as INTEGO Antivirus. For virus damage repair, consider using RESTORO.

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Method 2. Use System Restore

In order to use System Restore, you must have a system restore point, created either manually or automatically.

Step 1. Boot Windows in Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Instructions for Windows XP/Vista/7 users

  1. Shut down your PC. Start it again by pressing the Power button and instantly start pressing F8 button on your keyboard repeatedly in 1-second intervals. You will see Advanced Boot Options menu.
  2. Using arrow keys on the keyboard, navigate down to Safe Mode with Command Prompt option and press Enter.

Instructions for Windows 8/8.1/10/11 users

  1. Launch Windows Start menu, then click the Power button. On your keyboard, press down and hold the Shift key, and then choose Restart option with the mouse cursor.
  2. This will take you to Windows Troubleshoot screen. Choose Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > Startup Settings > Restart. Tip: If you can't find Startup Settings, click See more recovery options.
  3. In Startup Settings, press the right key between F1-F9 to enter Safe Mode with Command Prompt. In this case, press F6 key.
Step 2. Start System Restore process
  1. Wait until system loads and command prompt shows up.
  2. Type cd restore and press Enter, then type rstrui.exe and press Enter. Or you can just type %systemroot%system32restorerstrui.exe in command prompt and hit Enter.
  3. This launches System Restore window. Click Next and then choose a System Restore point created in the past. Choose one that was created before ransomware infection.
  4. Click Yes to begin the system restoration process.

After restoring the system, we recommend scanning the system with antivirus or anti-malware software. In most cases, there won't be any malware remains, but it never hurts to double-check. In addition, we highly recommend checking ransomware prevention guidelines provided by our experts in order to protect your PC against similar viruses in the future.

Alternative software recommendations

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware

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Decrypt FATE files

Fix and open large FATE files easily:

It is reported that STOP/DJVU ransomware versions encrypt only the beginning 150 KB of each file to ensure that the virus manages to affect all files on the system. In some cases, the malicious program might skip some files at all. That said, we recommend testing this method on several big (>1GB) files first.

  1. Create a copy of encrypted file to a separate folder using Copy > Paste commands.
  2. Now, right-click the created copy and choose Rename. Select the FATE extension and delete it. Press Enter to save changes.
  3. In the prompt asking whether you want to make the changes as file might become unusable, click OK.
  4. Try opening the file.

STOP/DJVU decryption tool usage guide

STOP/DJVU ransomware versions are grouped into old and new variants. FATE Ransomware Virus is considered the new STOP/DJVU variant, just like POWD, BOWD, BOZQ, POZQ, ZATP, ZATE (find full list here). This means full data decryption is now possible only if you have been affected by offline encryption key. To decrypt your files, you will have to download Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP DJVU, a tool created and maintained by a genius security researcher Michael Gillespie.

Note! Please do not spam the security researcher with questions whether he can recover your files encrypted with online key - it is not possible.

In order to test the tool and see if it can decrypt FATE files, follow the given tutorial.

  1. Download the decryption tool from Emsisoft.
  2. Click the little arrow next to your download and choose Show in Folder.
  3. Now, right-click the file and choose Run as Administrator. If asked, enter administrator's password.
  4. In UAC window, click Yes.
  5. Click Yes to agree to software terms in both windows.
  6. The tool will automatically include C:// disk as a location to decrypt. The file recovery tool will prepopulate the locations to scan, including connected data storage drives or network drives. Click Add folder if you wish to add additional locations.
    In Options tab, you can choose to keep encrypted file copies. We recommend leaving this option selected, especially if you do not know if the decryption tool will work.
  7. Click Decrypt to start restoring FATE files. You will see the progress in the Results tab. Here, you can see messages from the tool, such as whether the decryption procedure is successful, or you need to wait for an update.
    You might also be informed that online key was used to encrypt your files. In such case, the decryption tool won't work for you, and the only way to recover your files is to use a data backup.

Meanings of decryptor's messages

The FATE decryption tool might display several different messages after failed attempt to restore your files. You might receive one of the following messages:

Error: Unable to decrypt file with ID: [example ID]

This message typically means that there is no corresponding decryption key in the decryptor's database.

No key for New Variant online ID: [example ID]
Notice: this ID appears to be an online ID, decryption is impossible

This message informs that your files were encrypted with online key, meaning no one else has the same encryption/decryption key pair, therefore data recovery without paying the criminals is impossible.

Result: No key for new variant offline ID: [example ID]
This ID appears to be an offline ID. Decryption may be possible in the future.

If you were informed that an offline key was used, but files could not be restored, it means that the offline decryption key isn't available yet. However, receiving this message is extremely good news, meaning that it might be possible to restore your FATE extension files in the future. It can take a few months until the decryption key gets found and uploaded to the decryptor. We recommend you to follow updates regarding the decryptable DJVU versions here. We strongly recommend backing up your encrypted data and waiting.

Report Internet crime to legal departments

Victims of FATE Ransomware Virus should report the Internet crime incident to the official government fraud and scam website according to their country:

If you can't find an authority corresponding to your location on this list, we recommend using any search engine to look up "[your country name] report cyber crime". This should lead you to the right authority website. We also recommend staying away from third-party crime report services that are often paid. It costs nothing to report Internet crime to official authorities.

Another recommendation is to contact your country's or region’s federal police or communications authority.

Frequently Asked Questions

✓ How can I open .FATE files?

You can only open FATE files if you have the decryption key, or if you were affected by offline encryption type.

✓ How do I know if my files were encrypted with offline or online encryption?

To figure out whether you were affected by offline encryption, please go to C:/SystemID/PersonalID.txt and see if the string inside of it ends in t1. You can also try using Emsisoft Decryptor for STOP/DJVU.

✓ My files contain very important information (family memories). Every tool I used says it is impossible to decrypt. What should I do?

Please follow the guidances provided by the official FATE decryption tools and believe what they say. If they say it is impossible to decrypt, it really is so. There is no magic tool or human capable of decrypting your files hiding somewhere. Encryption is a technique created to be nearly impossible to decrypt without a special private key (held by the criminals).

✓ I am afraid virus is still in my computer system. What should I do?

We advise scanning with anti-virus, anti-malware, malware removal tools or software like RESTORO to eliminate virus damage on the system. If you do not trust using a single tool, try running one after another. However, we do not recommend keeping several security programs on a computer at once as they can interfere with each other's work.

✓ I saw several Youtube videos suggesting secret decryption tools. Can I trust them?

Beware of fake FATE decryption tools circulating around the web. Cyber criminals are uploading them to various shady websites, also might be promoting them via suspicious Youtube videos. These programs can infect your computer even more heavily (Trojans, miners, etc.). We suggest being extremely cautious around the web. If there will be an official STOP/DJVU decryption tool available, it will be widely discussed in public media.

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